Have an idea that’s a bit outside of the box – perhaps something whimsical that spreads awe and wonder throughout the community?

Take, for instance, a giant palleta bike rack or solar lights to brighten up park trees. Maybe an idea that could change someone’s life – like a literacy program, a mobile pet adoption clinic, or parties for kids with cancer?

Awesome San Antonio will give anyone $1,000 to pursue awesome ideas like these – and it has for two years.

This Thursday, the Awesome SA award ceremony will return to its founding location, the Alamo Street Eat Bar at 609 S. Alamo St., to announce the winner of the monthly grant at 6 p.m. The brief ceremony for finalists to explain their idea and for Awesome SA trustees and deans to hand off the $1,000 check has traveled to various locations around the center city. The Rivard Report is a media sponsor of Awesome SA, check out previous event coverage here.

Starting Dec. 1, however, the tables will turn.

All trustees and deans will apply for a grant, and the public will vote for the top three finalists in January. Stay tuned for details on how to view their applications and vote. In the meantime, here are this round’s finalists:

SA Town Get Down by Rachel Holland

Here’s my idea:

The SA Town Get Down is an unofficial, underground party with the mission to showcase unique San Antonio establishments and attract young people to downtown. The formula is simple: throw an awesome dance party at a classic San Antonio venue on a night when little else is planned, and market it through grassroots social media and word-of-mouth. The result? Partygoers fall in love with downtown San Antonio and learn about great venues they may have otherwise never been to.

event flyer sa-town get-down

Two successful SA-Town Get-Downs have already been hosted: the first at Tony’s Bar on New Years Eve 2014, and the second at the VFW Post 76 for Texas Independence Day 2014. The first was so successful that people were turned away due to capacity restrictions, and the second attracted more than 500 attendees.

The next SA-Town-Get-Down will be held on Nov. 29, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, when the many potential boomerang San Antonians will be in town. It will be an excellent opportunity for locals to bring their out-of-town siblings and guests to show them how the San Antonio social scene has evolved over the past few years. The Get-Down crew has narrowed venue selection down to four choices: Beethoven’s, Stay Golden, Aztec Theatre, and Brick, and final selection is dependent on budget. Depending on the venue selected, the Get-Down may also have a costume theme to make for a most memorable evening. Do210 and Uber have already been contacted to partner for advertising and free rides.

The long-term vision for the SA-Town Get-Down is to eventually become a revenue-generating event series, benefiting worthy local charities. The SA-Town Get-Down is open to the public (21 and up only).

How I will use the money:

We will use the money to pay venue fees ($200-500 deposits vary per venue), a DJ ($300-400 range), a door man ($100), flyer printing, party hats and glow sticks for guests.

A little about me:

I grew up on the Northside of San Antonio, left for nine years, swore I would never come back, and since 2011 have been having a love affair with the San Antonio I never knew growing up in suburbia. I want the rest of the city to see San Antonio the way I see it after moving to King William and working on Hemisfair’s incredible transformation. I serve on the Urban Land Institute Executive Committee, as a member of LOOP, a graduate of LSA Class 39, and will be attending graduate school in Washington, D.C.

How will this make San Antonio more awesome?

It will unite diverse people and enhance the social scene by offering a new, fun, and unique theme party for people to get excited about.

Movie Night at the Alamo by Amelia White

Here’s my idea:

"The Searchers" (1956) starring John Wayne.
“The Searchers” (1956) starring John Wayne.

The Alamo is seeking to host our second free movie night. Last year we screened the 1960 version of “The Alamo” to coincide with the anniversary of the birth of Alamo defender Davy Crockett. This year, we are wanting to screen the classic Texas Western “The Searchers” to coincide with a new exhibit running at the Alamo from Oct. 15-April 15.

How I will use the money:

$274 for the licensing fee and movie rental from Swank Motion Pictures, Inc. $599 for equipment rental from Slab Cinema. The remaining $127 will be used for advertising and to cover incidental costs related to the event.

A little about me:

The Alamo was founded as Mission San Antonio de Valero in 1718 by Spanish missionaries. During the almost 300 years of history on the site, the buildings have been used as army barracks, a quartermaster depot, and a general store. Most famously, it was the site of a battle in 1836 during the Texas Revolution. Today, the state-owned Alamo complex, which houses two of the original mission buildings, modern-day facilities, and beautifully landscaped gardens, is the most visited attraction in Texas.

How will this make San Antonio more awesome?

When most people in San Antonio think about the Alamo, they probably think of it as a tourist attraction – somewhere they only visit when entertaining out-of-town guests. By offering fun, free, and family-friendly events, the Alamo has been working to bring more San Antonio residents to the site. Movie nights at locations including the Botanical Gardens, the San Antonio Museum of Art, and Travis Park are an awesome San Antonio tradition, and the Alamo is eager to add to the fun in our awesome and unique location, as well as encourage local citizens to rediscover it.

Don’t Panic, Go Organic by Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association

Here’s my idea:

Delicious, non-panicing, organic artichokes. Photo courtesy of TOFGA.
Delicious, non-panicing, organic artichokes. Photo courtesy of TOFGA.

The Texas Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association (TOFGA) will host its annual conference here in San Antonio on Jan. 29-31, 2015. We will have more than 40 workshops on sustainable agriculture, organic agriculture, gardening, composting, small-scale meat production, and other topics of importance to family farmers and agribusiness people. In addition, there will be a keynote address by a well-known person in the local food movement and up to 50 exhibitors. Students from the Agriculture Magnet School at Madison High School would attend the TOFGA conference and be able to learn from all of the educational opportunities available there and also get to meet many of Texas’ finest farmers. Madison High School students who attend the conference will be specifically presented to the attendees at one of the plenary sessions during the conference. We will ask each of them to write a story or do a short video about their experiences at the conference. They will be the rock stars of the conference!

How I will use the money:

Twenty students (20) from the Agriculture Magnet School at Madison High School would be able to register for the conference at a special price of $50 each. Normal registration for the conference costs $200.

A little about me:

TOFGA is the 501 (c)(3) statewide trade association for family farmers and gardeners in Texas who practice sustainable agriculture or organic farming. In addition to the annual conference, we provide farm tours, technical information for farmers and ranchers, and bulk sourcing of inputs for producers.

How will this make San Antonio more awesome?

This project will offer the opportunity to 20 of San Antonio’s future agricultural leaders to become more knowledgeable and to make contacts with important producers from all over Texas. They could easily become the next round of entrepreneurs or employees for local food businesses that would enhance the reputation of San Antonio as a mecca for local and artisanal foods.

*Featured/top image: Ben Judson sets his beer down before describing his grant-winning project, the wabiStory mobile app at wabistory.org. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

Related stories:

 Awesome SA Finalists: Fruit, Roots, Seniors, and “S.O.M.E.”

UPDATED: Awesome SA July: $1,000 for Photography ‘Life Book’

Awesome SA Stays Golden with Music, Movies, and Math

Awesome SA Popping Up in Travis Park

Awesome SA Finalists: Adopt a Tree, Co-Creating Space, and Sun Safety

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Iris Dimmick

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and workforce development. Contact her at iris@sareport.org